Remembering the iconic bands and musos that have visited Bendigo in the past 30 years

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Remembering the iconic bands and musos that have visited Bendigo in the past 30 years

Words by Chester Ogilvie

Remember that time when..?

Like old friends over a few drinks, we at Forte don’t mind having a look back on life.

Sure, we have one eye on the future to the day when you can pick up a copy as you enjoy your commute or brekkie, but we just can’t help ourselves when it comes to reflecting on the good ol’ days.

So, here we go with a little look at some of the bands who have visited Bendigo since Forte said hello to the world back in 1991. We also feel it our duty to point out that AC/DC played several times in the 1970s. It’s time to dig out that old band t-shirt.

1991: Aussie legends and BBQ compilation staples, Paul Kelly and Hunters & Collectors.

1992: Yothu Yindi released Tribal Voice in 1991, with the accompanying tour reaching Bendigo the following year. Locals Goya’s Child has their first public gig at the Brian Boru.

1993: Still babies at the time and years from releasing their triple j Hottest 100 #1 ‘No Aphrodisiac’, The Whitlams hit The Golden Vine Hotel.

1994: The Whitlams return, visiting Bendigo a few times throughout the year. The Fauves take in a show, as does Melbourne indie-rock trio Peachfuzz.

1995: Regurgitator, TISM and Tina Arena were among those who take in the area. A short drive from Bendigo, the Sunny Sedgwick Music Festival plays out for the first time.

1996: Something for Kate, Jebediah and Bluebottle Kiss team up for the Unipaloser tour.

1997: Silverchair and Magic Dirt shake the basketball courts of the Bendigo Schweppes Centre. According to, Silverchair didn’t play ‘Tomorrow’. Screamfeeder and Ammonia also visit during the year.

1998: Savage Garden deliver their Future of Earthly Delites tour to fans.

1999: The Waifs visit Bendigo more than once, while John Butler Trio, Wendy Matthews, Pollyanna and Shihad also pay their respects.

2000: Killing Heidi and 28 Days tear up La Trobe Uni, while Taxiride invade the Bendigo Racecourse. A young Kasey Chambers says hello.

2001: Frenzal Rhomb, Mach Pelican, Something for Kate and Pete Murray visit. A Day on the Green is founded and hits Big Hill Vineyard with Paul Kelly, James Reyne and Renée Geyer.

2002: Jebediah, Magic Dirt, Augie March, Spazzys, Waikiki and Girls Against Boys visit. Meanwhile, undue noise forms and begins hosting experimental gigs in Bendigo and Castlemaine.

2003: John Farnham embarks on his The Last Time tour. Others who dig Bendigo this year include Area-7, Warped, Lucie Thorne and Muzzy Pep.

2004: Channel [V] roll into town with a fresh-faced Guy Sebastian. Blank Expression and others let rip as part of YouthFest, a free concert that helped close out the Commonwealth Youth Games.

2005: Channel [V] visit again, this time in search of fresh VJ talent. Sarah McLeod, Antiskeptic, Love Outside Andromeda, End of Fashion and British India also swing by. After forming in 1997, local band Ruteger calls it a day.

2006: There’s something for those who love it loud with Parkway Drive, and those who prefer it chilled with Donavon Frankenreiter and Pete Murray. Bob Evans, Kate Miller-Heidke, Shannon Noll, The Living End, SubAudible Hum, The Veronicas and Bliss n Eso do the rounds as well.

2007: Powderfinger, along with buddies Silverchair, perform as part of the Across the Great Divide tour. There was an on-stage marriage proposal. The Make Poverty History concert features Kisschasy, Dallas Crane and Blue King Brown.

2008: Visits from Shihad, Yves Klein Blue, Gyroscope, The Living End, Wagons, Josh Pyke, Dead Letter Chorus and Magic Dirt.

2009: Groovin the Moo hits Bendigo for the first time, with a line-up that includes Okkervil River, Ratatat, De La Soul, The Twelves, The Drones, Little Birdy and The Grates.

2010: Pre-Shrunk, John Butler Trio, Jasmine Rae, Thy Art is Murder and The Amity Affliction become more familiar with Bendigo. Powderfinger would roll in again, this time as part of their farewell Sunsets tour. Locals Ethanol gives a funky farewell.

2011: Rose Tattoo, Confession, Northlane, Heroes for Hire and Tonight Alive all make appearances. The Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival debuts.

2012: The Getaway Plan, Stonefield, Illy, Texas in July, Dream on, Dreamer, Deez Nuts, Flume, Hands Like Houses and Felicity Groom check out the local sights. Fans turn on Andrew W.K. at Groovin the Moo.

2013: Colin Hay makes an early year appearance. Sarah Blasko, Gang of Youths, Sheppard, Jimmy Barnes, Alison Wonderland, Palace of the King, Lee Kernaghan and Guy Sebastian also visit.

2014: Jeff Rosenstock, Dead Letter Circus, Ash Grunwald, Dallas Frasca, Wolfmother, Reece Mastin and Busby Marou tour. Legendary British glam rockers The Sweet blitz Bendigo, while local favourites Sender perform their final gig.

2015: Michael Franti & Spearhead, 10cc, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Guy Pearce, Ian Moss, The Smith Street Band, Kingswood, Augie March, Acolyte, Abbey Stone and Megan Washington are visitors this year.

2016: Jason Isbell and Eileen Jewel team up for a show. Cosmic Psychos, Boy & Bear, The Beards, The Hard Aches, The Bennies, As a Rival, The Stiffys, Thirsty Merc, Dellacoma and Dami Im also visit, while fans get lucky with a leg of the inaugural Up the Guts tour.

2017: Visitors include Martha Wainwright, Bernard Fanning, Ali Barter, Gretta Ray, British India, Jordie Lane, Jeff Lang, Pete Murray and Frenzal Rhomb. There is also a visit from Herman’s Hermits and the winning combo of Hoodoo Gurus and You Am I.

2018: Colin Hay, Kate Miller-Heidke, John Butler Trio, Thundamentals, Alexander Biggs, Tex Perkins & the Tennessee Four, The Preatures, Sarah Blasko, Angus & Julia Stone, Tim Rogers and Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers make for an eventful year.

2019: Bendigo scores big time with Damien Rice, while other visitors include Press Club, Luca Brasi, DZ Deathrays, Alex Lahey and Lloyd Cole.

2020: Keep an eye out for those online performances. There’s still a lot of love out there, and bigger things will come. We can feel it in our bones.

For more nostalgic content, check out our piece 15 of Geelong’s most iconic places gone but not forgotten.